The 30th Espoo Ciné International Film Festival offers a versatile selection of new European films

Espoo Ciné International Film Festival begins on Monday the 6th of May for the 30th time. “Through the years, this small event focused on films from the Baltic Sea area has grown into one of the nation’s largest film festivals”, says executive producer Mia Vainikainen. “Today Espoo Ciné is a significant distributor of European cinema in Finland”, she recounts.

The programme includes films from 40 different countries, with an even larger number of languages spoken. Along with the giants of European cinema, like France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Great-Britain, the programme also includes films from countries such as Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and of course Finland and other Nordic countries. “In addition to high-profile gala screenings, there will be a rich assortment of new European films peppered with old favourites, and a few gems from outside the borders of Europe”, explains Mickael Suominen, the head of programming.

The themes and subjects of the films vary from coming-of-age stories of young women to ground-breaking love stories and dramas delving into working class lives. “The festival films highlight political and societal themes without forgetting comedy”, says Suominen. “The stories of women of different ages strongly stand out again in this year’s programme”, he continues.

Lives of young women are delved into for example in the Belarusian CRYSTAL SWAN and the ballet-world drama IMPERFECT AGE. In the German film THIRTY a group of friends suffers from a quarter-life crisis, while TAKE ME SOMEWHERE NICE is a fresh road movie about a teenage girl travelling from the Netherlands to Bosnia-Herzegovina to see her sick father.

The programme includes awarded festival hits like THE GUILTY, the Danish one-night thriller set in an emergency call center, a celebration of Jakob Cedergren’s acting talent. Alice Rohrwacher’s HAPPY AS LAZZARO received its world premiere in the Cannes film festival last year, while this year the director was selected to the jury of the festival’s respected main competition. In addition to the gala films, political and societal themes are presented in the startling SONS OF DENMARK, set in Denmark of the near future, and NORTHERN WIND, a depiction of working-class lives in both Tunisia and France. Some of the more comedic films in the programme are SWIMMING WITH MEN, about a middle-aged men’s synchronized swimming team, and IDEAL HOME starring Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd.

The pre-screenings in Kino Regina 3.–5.5. take a head start to the festival frenzy with the very first opening film of Espoo Ciné in 1990, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, and Ciné darling Michael Haneke’s PIANO TEACHER. Actress Tuva Novotny’s intense debut feature BLIND SPOT offers a taste of the festival to come.

The 30th Espoo Ciné opens on Monday the 6th of May with Paolo Sorrentino’s highly anticipated LORO. The Finnish gala screening is for the first time a documentary feature, Tonislav Hristov’s praised THE MAGIC LIFE OF V. The festival closes with an exceptional cinematic event, Oscar winner Peter Jackson’s documentary THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD.

Junior Ciné (6.–10.5.), the children and young people’s festival in its 3rd year brings together teachers, educators, filmmakers and of course children and teenagers. In addition to film screenings, there will be a media education seminar and the EFA Young Audience Award event taking place in Kino Tapiola on Sunday the 5th of May. Junior Ciné celebrates its own opening ceremony earlier in the day on Monday the 6th of May with CLOUDBOY, a drama set in the summery Swedish Lapland.

Ticket sales online and in festival venues Espoo Cultural Centre, Kino Tapiola, Finnkino Sello and Finnkino Omena 6.–12.5.2019.